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Karel Story

boyKarel came to a youth center that was already full of people and voices; he didn’t know anyone. It takes a certain level of bravery to be as vulnerable as Karel was. Luckily, he had all the bravery he needed to step in, but he was quiet and shy.

Everyday Karel slid into the youth center as quietly as possible. Although he was quiet, his school sweatshirt wasn’t—royal blue with a large yellow “KIPP” across the chest. Within a week, almost everyone in the youth adopted Kipp as his nickname, screaming it as he walked in—it was like SSYC’s welcoming hug. He began to open up, participating in daily check-in, teen workshops, and homework hour.

He has grown into one of the most consistent pieces of teen programming and the teen voice, helping guide what they do and who they are. He’s a part of the teen family. Now, when Karel walks into the center, he does so with confidence, laughing as some teens chant, “Kipp, Kipp, hooray!”